Netherlands readies to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine - Zelenskyy
On December 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Netherlands had begun preparations to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets
Zelenskyy wrote about this on Telegram.
"I had a phone conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, during which I thanked the Dutch government for the decision to start preparing the first 18 F-16 fighters for delivery to Ukraine," the statement says.
In addition, the president expressed gratitude to the Netherlands for supporting the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. He emphasized the importance of providing Ukraine with long-term EU assistance worth EUR 50 billion as soon as possible.
According to Zelenskyy, he and the Dutch prime minister discussed the developments at the front, the situation in the Black Sea, and Ukraine's current military needs. These include artillery, drones, and air defense.
"We agreed to continue our joint work on security guarantees in accordance with the G7 Vilnius Declaration. We also discussed the next meeting of advisers on the Peace Formula and efforts to further consolidate international support for Ukraine's vision of a just peace," the president added.
F-16 fighters for Ukraine
On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved the training of Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that Ukraine would not use these aircraft to strike at Russian territory.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the first F-16 fighter jets are likely to fly in Ukraine's skies by the end of March 2024.
On August 17, the United States approved the shipment of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine.
At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with the aircraft if they were not used in Russia.
On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The Belgian Defense Ministry had previously said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that several F-16s might be delivered to Ukraine next year. In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16 fighters.
On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.
On October 12, it is reported that the Netherlands will send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will begin training in a few weeks.
On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA.
On November 1, the Pentagon said that the training in Arizona could last from 5 to 9 months.
On November 7, five Dutch F-16 fighter jets arrived in Romania, where a training center will soon open to train Ukrainian and Romanian pilots.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with his Belgian counterpart, Ludivine Dedonder, to discuss the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine and pilot training.